Numerous flights faced disruptions at Pune Airport, experiencing cancellations, delays, and diversions due to challenging weather conditions in Delhi, leading to significant inconvenience for passengers. Expressing their frustrations on social media, travellers criticised authorities and airlines, highlighting the evident mismanagement. Simultaneously, concerns lingered over the prolonged inauguration of the new terminal building at Pune Airport, a project intended to alleviate congestion and enhance operational efficiency.
Despite the construction's completion in 2017, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis clarified that there was neither an official nor a tentative date set for the terminal's inauguration. Locals, particularly the Congress party, raised objections, emphasizing that the delay was attributed to the Prime Minister's office's indecision on confirming a specific date.
Commencing in late 2017, the construction of the new terminal building has recently reached completion.
Congress warns of protest
Officials from the airport are currently awaiting an inauguration date from the Prime Minister's Office. The city's Congress party has criticized the government, threatening agitation if the terminal isn't opened by January 1.
Mohan Joshi, former MLA and general secretary of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee, stated that despite the building being ready for three months, the delay in inauguration is solely due to the Prime Minister's office not confirming a date.
In a bid to alleviate congestion during peak hours at Pune Airport, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has invested Rs. 475 Crore in constructing the New Integrated Terminal Building. While the existing Terminal Building, with its modest 22,000 Sqm. area, can handle up to Seven Million Passengers per annum (MPPA), the expansive new terminal building spans over 3,60,000 sq. ft, providing additional passenger handling capacity for 09 Million Passengers per annum (MPPA).
The new structure features central air-conditioning, five passenger boarding bridges, 34 check-in counters, and an in-line baggage handling system. It's designed as an energy-efficient facility with a Four-Star GRIHA rating.
Joshi emphasized that the completion and testing of the new terminal were finalized before August 2023, with air passengers using social media to urge the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation and the AAI to promptly operationalize the terminal. He also alleged inadequate acknowledgment of these appeals.
"Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia initially announced the terminal's inauguration in September 2023, with subsequent promises for October. Despite a written request to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office, his involvement in state election campaigns hindered the inauguration. Passengers eagerly await the operationalization of the new terminal, which would increase the airport's passenger capacity and the number of flights. However, political considerations appear to delay the inauguration," Mohan Joshi said in a release.
134 flights delayed, 22 trains running late as dense fog grips Delhi
A dense layer of fog engulfed the national capital as cold wave gripped the city, leading to train and flight delays in Delhi, causing inconvenience to passengers on Thursday.
Visuals from the Indira Gandhi International Airport showed passengers queuing up at the gates of the airport amid intense fog.
The Delhi airport reported delays in flight operations affecting approximately 134 flights, both arrivals and departures (domestic and international), due to fog. While 35 international flight departures got delayed from Delhi, 28 international arrivals got delayed as well. On the other hand, 43 domestic departures and 28 domestic arrivals got delayed.